Free Minds & Free Markets

SCOTUS Feigns Federalism in Sports Betting Decision: New at Reason

Congress can’t "commandeer" state legislators, but it can achieve the same result with "preemption."

Baishampayan Ghose /FlickrBaishampayan Ghose /FlickrThis week seven members of the Supreme Court agreed that Congress exceeded its powers when it passed a law that prohibited states from legalizing sports betting. But the ruling was not quite the vindication of state sovereignty that it appeared to be.

Almost all of the justices seemed to agree that Congress could have achieved the same result by passing a slightly different law that would have been constitutional, Jacob Sullum notes. As Justice Stephen Breyer put it in his concurring opinion, "the only problem" with the challenged law "lies in its means, not its end."

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  • Mickey Rat||

    Sorry, FDR permanently corrupted the judiciary's understanding of federalism when his administration bullied the court into decisions like Wickard. It is now too embedded for SCOTUS to root out even if a majority was inclined to by principle (such majority probably does not exist). The only way to rid ourselves of it is to amend or rewrite the Constitution with the intent of destroying that precedent.


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